Taking a Closer Look – Character Artist Victoria Santos

The sign of a truly great character artist is their ability to capture the “character” behind the image. Character artist Victoria Santos is really good at that. Just look at her work. The personality of the OCs (original characters) she draws comes shining through. Perhaps this is why she is able to make a living selling her work. 

Character artist Victoria Santos

BLUE GEM – VIctoria Santos has the ability to tap into personalities of the characters she draws for others.
All images by Victoria Santos

Finding Her Calling

Santos, age 32, lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She said it is very hard for artists to get a job and for others to take one seriously. But she had been drawing all her life. The decision to go for working as a freelance artist was not an easy one.

When I finished high-school I had a bunch of people, family and friends ask me to do something "real," something that brings food to the table. So I studied a ton of other stuff. ... I even I went to a cooking academy and worked in a 5 star resort hotel at some point. But I ended up lost and profoundly depressed. But then I decided to go back to the basics and I signed up in the art university in 2018. I was lost and it was there I found myself again.
Victoria Santos
Professional Character Artist

DUO – A Tiefling reflected with her ghost was the first Tiefling Santos ever drew. She loves it.

Selling Her Work

Santos said she started selling commissions because a Facebook contact really wanted something drawn by her. She didn’t want to charge them anything for it, because she didn’t think it was worth it. But this friend must have realized it was too good not to pay for and forced Santos to take some money.

After that, she started searching around online and selling “traditional” hand-done drawings. When the pandemic hit, her sister gave her a graphic tablet and that’s when she began practicing digital arts. Santos said, without her sister, she would not be where she is now.

Working as a professional character artist is currently Santos’ only source of income. She almost quit back in 2020, but was talked out of it.

D&D PARTY – This group of adventurers was done for the little blue guy on the right.

"My sister told me I should put all my effort into this for six months. If I didn't have any success, she said she'd help me find another full-time job. I guess COVID had other plans! With the quarantine and doing digital drawings, I started getting many customers and now, here I am. Some months are a bit slow and other months I have too much work. I think those are the struggles of being a freelancer.
- Victoria Santos

Victoria Santos

Making a living as a character artist is no easy feat. But Victoria Santos – who lives in Buenos Aires – has made it work. 

She credits her sister, Fiorella, for encouraging her along the way.

 

Character artist Victoria Santos

Santos admits working as a freelance artist can sometimes be very hard. She said the market can sometimes be over-flooded. Her social media followers are really quite minimal, which does surprise her sometimes.

To be honest, I have a lot of customers for a person with such bad engagement! I also have a few regular costumers, and I'm always finding new ones. I think the solution is to make art that pops. I am so grateful for my customers and my followers.
Victoria Santos

Pricing

Prices vary based on size, colors and the number of characters to be portrayed. A portrait, from the chest up, starts around $45 USD. A full-body image, with fully rendered color, starts around $110 USD. The more involved the work is, the more expensive. Her website includes price guidelines and more information.

ART TRADE – Santos created this as part of an art trade – for a girl she met in an art group. She thinks it turned out so different from her other work because it was made as part of a trade (and the OC was adorable.)

Her Style, Her Fandoms

Santos characterizes her character art as “semi-realism” or “stylized.” It is, perhaps, somewhere in between the two. She started drawing as a child, doing anime and went on to study visual arts in high school and university. Now, she feels her style “mixes things” up and is relatively hard to classify.

When drawing for pleasure, she uses many different types of media – from oil paints to graphite to ink and more.  But her commission are 100% digital. It makes them easier to sell internationally.

Santos works with many fandoms. Many of her customers play D&D and the OCs represent in-game characters. Other customers come from a variety of fandoms, including Final Fantasy, Pokémon, Sailor Moon, Digimon. But she does more than just fandom art. Sometimes, she even draws stuff for herself.

HER DAD – This is Freddy Santos, Victoria’s dad. He passed away in 2018. This image is a “xylography” and is based on one of her favorite photos. The image was created on wood. Then graphic ink and an etching press is used to translate the image onto paper.

Other goodies ...

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Contact Information for Character Artist Victoria Santos

Santos has a website and Instagram, where one can find samples of her work. The website includes a price list. She stresses she encourages potential customers to simply reach out and tell her what they are looking for.

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